It was engrained in my mind, for a very long time, that I was the fastest walker on the streets of Nairobi, maybe even the State of Kenya.
(This is no joke)
I’d stroll with a few buddies and they’d lament the speed I made them walk.
I’d note a target, and prod myself to go past him. He would be at a great distance ahead but in the long run, I’d catch up and even overtake him.
And yes, I have never put my speed to test. Never timed my walk and never participated in a walk race (none that I can remember), though it was a belief I guarded with gusto.
And no, I don’t picture myself a car in a highway going past others leaving behind a trail of dust or smoke. NO WAY. With my lips brushing against each other releasing the sound of a car engine; not forgetting the emphasis of a gear change – ha-ha!
But if it makes the read interesting, let your mind wander.
Several occasions have screamt at my ear that I’m not a fast walker and being the person that I am, I turn a blind eye reserving the quarrel for another day. Though at times I reply with how jealous they are or rarely do admit from the wrong side of the bed, that I got up.
One day, months ago, I was running late as I was volunteering to facilitate in a Summit held at Citam Valley Road. I was dropped at Wood Avenue in Kilimani, and my quick jaunt to Yaya Center (which is a short distance) to board a bus, I experienced pools of people overtake me that I thought I was crawling on my fours. But I beat my chest saying the Kawangware men had long strides. Otherwise, were it on a level playing field… wacha tu!
But today, I remove the crown from my head, step down from the chair, pluck the ring from my hand, and swallowing my pride: I accept that the person I thought I was, I am not. Probably, the man I think I am, I am not. Yet.
I am not the fastest walker that ever graced the soil of Kenya.
God, that was tough.
[You might be thinking what a useless thing to want to achieve or occupation to dwell on but, (First I agree with you), if silly things were not done, intelligent things would never have happened. Like this article 🙂]
It was about 1:55 pm when we were trying (it was hot) to gobble down, as quick as possible, a good meal. I repeat a good meal. We had a class that was to begin at 2:00 pm and the Chairman of the Department was the lecturer.
We finished munching at 2:05 pm. I was in a hurry that I teasingly left the room, wanting to let Gilbert and Tiberius know that nobody got time to put the plates together or drink water. We got to go. NOW! But had I known what was awaiting me, I would have taken a 5 minute siesta.
Gilbert is a fairly round and hairy being. He stands out from the rest with his well-neat Afro and wolverine beards. Also he’s a man who has a zest for life that is infectious. A friendship you can bank on, anytime of day, any day of the year. The little he has, he’s willing to share.
Tiberius is a man who looks out of touch with himself. (Confused). But the moment you get to know him; you realize the wit, humor, and strictness that lie beneath his demeanor. His humility and ‘down-to-earth’ personality has caught my eye; living life with no pressure, no worry, and no hurry.
Friendships I don’t take for granted.
Immediately Tiberius got his back-pack on and Gilbert quickly gulped his water; that was the last time I was to be in front of them, the whole walk to class. We are all about the same height, thus a level ‘playing field’.
They walked with so much ease that at one point, I wondered, ‘what’s not happening?’ My legs couldn’t go on. I felt a sharp pain, on both legs, the more I tried to keep up and still maintain a decent gait.
They laughed at me. A laugh of, ‘Sorry, but it’s you to keep up with us.’
The sun blazed, showing us who is boss. The heat was so strong that it would cause a dramatic and painful death to any vampire.
I got hold of my sling bag and made a run to them and kept walking. Three steps later, they were gone. The man I had passed running came and passed me walking. Whoa! Needless to say, that was the longest quick walk of my life.
This made me see life for what it truly is: a vicious competition.
Many times we think we are the best there has ever been:
Either a professional (lawyer, doctor, teacher… etc);
a sports player;
there’s never been a leader like you;
the best musician or lyrical genius but it’s until you meet the Israeli artiste, that you get floored;
the best writer till one day you come across a beautifully knit Russian novel with the author’s name you dare not pronounce;
the sermon you preached was the best;
maybe you think Peter is the best boyfriend you ever had, until you break up and two years later you meet Alex who now becomes the most kind, funniest being you ever laid eyes on: nurses you better in sickness and stands up for you among your enemies. Then four years later you meet Duncan…;
we think the ladies of our country are the fairest of all or the men, heroic of them all;
The University we study in is the biggest;
maybe your mom’s cooking is the best till one day you stopover by your neighbors.
Get out of the small world you’ve boxed yourself into. Stop playing with the sandbox and head to the beach, you’ll see sand, as numerous…
In everything you do, don’t think you’re the best or reached the top but keep improving for there’s always room – wanting to be more than we are is real and normal and healthy. And remember there are 7 billion people in the world, not 46 people.
What is that which you think you are the best?
What benchmark or yardstick did you use to measure yourself against? Your classmates, neighborhood?
Though small, this can become a powerful tool in helping you achieve your larger goals, and, vitally, keep you humble!
But don’t get me wrong, on your goals
Gilbert and Tiberius reached class at 2:13 pm, while I followed closely at 2:20 pm.